When cold weather arrives, most fish hibernate, but Phish just heads to the indoor arena circuit. The Vermont quartet brought its winter tour to MCI Center Wednesday night and delivered a sharp and characteristically lengthy performance.
Phish is using this brief East Coast tour to sharpen its gills for a New Millennium Eve blowout--upwards of 70,000 are expected to trek to Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida, where the band promises to play from 11:30 p.m. to dawn on the big day--and Wednesday the band was in mid-season form. Particularly strong was the first set, which featured two of Phish's most melodic compositions, "Farmhouse" and "Wolfman's Brother," plus a hilarious interlude in which guitarist Trey Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon bounced in syncopation on trampolines, never missing a note.
Phish's state-of-the-art lighting rig is more effective in an indoor arena, and the vertiginous display that accompanied "You Enjoy Myself" sent the almost-sold-out crowd into slack-jawed awe.
The show's second half didn't reach the highs of the first, notably "Free," which ran past 20 minutes. A medley of "Dirt," "Reba" and "Halley's Comet" was better, though the set would have benefited from a few cover versions, which, aside from a pass at "Rocky Top" during the encore, were absent.